SFI protests against RSS-ABVP for ‘curbing free speech’

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New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) The Students’ Federation of India (SFI) on Friday held a protest here against the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and its students body Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for their bid to curb freedom of speech and expression in academic institutions.

The Left-oriented students organisation, along with its supporters, walked from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar in the national capital, raising slogans against violence by the RSS and the ABVP in academic spaces.

The protestors were joined by CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury at Jantar Mantar.

This was part of a series of protests being organised by different students organisations in the wake of the February 22 disturbances at Ramjas College.

Clashes had erupted at the College between two students bodies after the ABVP forced suspension of an event to be addressed by JNU student Umar Khalid, who had been charged with sedition last year.

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“This is a battle for having a democratic space on the campus,” SFI Delhi unit President Prashant Mukherjee told IANS.

“The RSS and the the BJP have been attacking the educational institutions across the country. These attacks are not just physical but on the entire policy direction,” he added.

Mukherjee also objected to the government’s New Education Policy (NEP).

“The NEP, which has only been drafted but not implemented, speaks about the privatisation and commercialisation of education. In Delhi University, six colleges have forced to become autonomous,” he said.

Mukherjee further said: “There would now be no control over their quality. There will not be enough funds coupled with skyrocketing fees.”

He referred to the February 22 violence and said that “the ABVP-RSS combine manufactures such incidents in universities to hide their agenda. Their real agenda is to break the university and that is what we are protesting against.”

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